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Media Studies

Master of Arts Degree in Media Studies


The M.A. in Media Studies is an integrated, interdisciplinary program intended for students with a traditional undergraduate education and some experience in communications and digital media.       

Students graduating with this degree, unique in West Virginia, are ideally suited to take advantage of the expanding job possibilities in graphic design, digital video production, interactive media and multimedia production, electronic publishing, and on-line information services. Media Studies graduates are prepared for careers as communication experts in such venues as commerce and industry, education and entertainment, and government and the not-for-profit sector. Graduates are also prepared to continue their graduate work toward a doctoral degree. Students will graduate with design, technical, and critical skills and will be well-equipped to address the many challenges faced by corporations, small businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations
and educational institutions as they venture into the digital millennium.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowProgram Impact

Information technology has already begun to create demand for highly skilled workers. As electronic commerce becomes more widespread, it will drive further changes in the labor market. States and countries that have an insufficient supply of skilled workers will see high-skilled, high-paying jobs migrate to states and countries that can supply the needed talent. As the information technology and media infrastructure continue to expand, there will be a need for managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders to direct this developing sector of our economy.
 

The Media Studies M.A. program is intended to have a significant impact on the future economic growth of West Virginia. In order for the state to meet the challenges of the emerging digital economy, we must work hard to create new human resources that can prepare us for these challenges. Programs such as this one which are directly related to new technologies and economic growth – will help West Virginia move from an economy based upon heavy industry (coal, chemicals and manufacturing) to one that focuses on media and information technology.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAdmissions

Admission Requirements - Graduate Program in Media Studies

Minimum Requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completed Application (Plus application fee)
  • Three letters of recommendation addressing applicant's academic competencies
  • GRE score 290
  • TOEFL score of at least 550 for students whose native language is not English.  The Test for Spoken English will also be required.

*Preference is given to those with an undergraduate G.P.A of 3.0 or higher and/or high GRE scores. 
      
Exceptions

  • Provisional Admission may be granted if low G.P.A or GRE scores are offset by other factors
  • Excellent Recommendations
  • Unusual  Grading Patterns
  • Outstanding Statement of Purpose
  • Examples of Professional Accomplishment

 
*Provisionally admitted students must maintain a 3.0 G.P.A  and be re-classified as regular students upon completion of 12th graduate credit hour.
 
Evaluation Criteria

  • Meeting stated requirements are necessary for consideration, but do not automatically assure admission. Admission is granted on a case-by-case basis by the Media Studies Program Admissions Committee.
  • The role of diversity is an essential goal for our graduate program.  Differences in age, life experiences, education, extracurricular activities, and racial, ethnic, and/or cultural background are all valued in the admissions decision
  • Emphasis is placed on the applicant's, academic records, professional skills, and personal characteristics.
  • While it is preferred that applicants hold a Baccalaureate degree in the humanities, the fine arts, or social sciences (preferably with some coursework in communications, film, videography, computer science, or Media Studies), applications are sought from graduates in any discipline who can demonstrate a serious and committed approach to the subject.
  • *Some undergraduate remediation may be necessary for students with minimal computer literacy and/or no previous coursework or experience in such areas as filmmaking, video production and mass media theory.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowCourse Descriptions

Course Descriptions - Graduate Program in Media Studies

Media Studies Graduate Course Descriptions (all courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted)

MS 500. Digital Storytelling 
A foundation course in the study and application of media aesthetic principles to visual media, utilizing digital imaging and manipulation technologies and software. Students will analyze and develop digital presentations containing graphics and text based on the principles of effective visual design for several screen formats. Theory will be integrated into practice through several guided projects, culminating in a major media design project published to CD, DVD and the web. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 502. Graduate Research and Writing
An entry-level graduate course designed to familiarize students with the basic tools and techniques to do acceptable graduate work. Emphasis will be given to critical methods of research, study, and writing. Required in the first year of graduate work in the Media Studies program. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 503. Mass Communications Theory
Students will learn about the structure, content, process and effects of communication, the contributions of other disciplines and barriers to effective communication. Students will explore the vibrant relationship between theory building, research and knowledge. Students will examine key theories in detail, considering their relationships with other theories and the insight they provide into human communication. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 505. Media Research
Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research procedures used in the social sciences and communications studies. Methods include experimental design, surveying, sampling, content and narrative analysis, as well as focus groups and interviewing techniques. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies Graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 510. Digital Graphic Design
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of visual expression as a means of communicating information, and the technical skills to digitally translate information into visual communication. Emphasis is placed on the development of strong conceptual design skills, understanding the history and development of creative applications of technology, and the mastery of technical information to facilitate effective messages. Prerequisite(s): MS 500 or permission of the instructor. (Note: Students are expected to have a working knowledge of basic design principles and to be familiar with the Mac platform.)

MS 515. Public Relations Theory and Practice
This course will examine the application of communication, social and behavioral science theory and research techniques in the overall planning, programming, implementation, analysis and evaluation of public relations programs and campaigns. Emphasis will be placed on the identification and analysis of strategies as they are used and affect profit as well as non-profit organizations. Prerequisite(s): MS 505.

MS 541. Digital Video Production
This course will focus on narrative project conceptualization, scripting, storyboarding, production and postproduction utilizing digital video strategies, technology and software. Students, through individual projects, will apply narrative and media aesthetic principles in the production of a series of structured digital projects, culminating in a major narrative project. Prerequisite(s): MS 500 or permission of the instructor.

MS 543. Animation Production
This class consists of screenings, lectures and a series of projects that will introduce the student to animation production for film and video. The course focuses on the concepts, techniques and processes of producing an image, as well as surveying the history of the art form, international trends and recent developments in the industry. Prerequisite(s): MS 541.

MS 548. Screenwriting
This course is designed as a theoretical as well as practical approach to learning the art and craft of screenwriting. Students will study exemplary film through existing screenplays (on reserve), watch and analyze appropriate film works and find the commonalities of traditional writing styles/techniques as they relate to screenwriting while learning the specific technical aspects of writing for the screen. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 561. Media Law and Regulation
Students will learn the legal structure of radio, television, cable, satellite, Internet and other new media forms. Issues to be addressed include intellectual property laws, copyright, Internet regulations, First Amendment legislation and FCC law. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies Graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 565. Producer’s Seminar
A theoretical and practical study of the art and craft of the film/video producer. The student will become familiar with the role of the producer and what function he/she performs in the various visual, audio, and multimedia production formats. Lectures, readings, guest visits, and assignments will address the producer’s role in feature and short narrative, documentary, commercial, industrial, educational and art film and video making. Radio (commercial and public) as well as music production will also be included. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor. 

MS 570. Theories of Visual Communication
This course is a critical, philosophical and historical exploration of images as the objects of visual communication. Broadly defined to include still and moving images, graphic design, typography and also visual phenomena such as fashion, professional and political posture and interaction, visual communication is rooted in basic principles of perception and visual interpretation. Exploring various theories about the structures and uses of visual communication, students will also investigate how the social world is constructed, represented and contested in visual discourse. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 600. 3D Design
This class is a workshop in 3D computer animation production. The class will consist of screenings, lectures and hands-on projects designed to provide an overview of the history, practices and aesthetics of computer-generated images (CGI). While the primary focus of the course is 3D computer animation; the course will also introduce students to a variety of software packages for editing, titling, image processing, audio processing, 2D animation and compositing. Prerequisite(s): MS 500.

MS 601. Critical Approaches to Media Studies
In this critical studies course, students will learn how to apply quantitative and qualitative analytical tools to mass- mediated texts as they look for embedded cultural and political meaning within our media. Students will learn critical theory and apply that theory as they deconstruct the media products they confront on a daily basis. Students will uncover embedded messages in broadcast news and advertising, print articles and advertising, film, television shows and websites. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 635. Race, Gender and Media
This course will examine and analyze the role played by the U.S. mass media (newspapers, magazines, film, radio and television) in establishing, facilitating and confronting the social constructs of race, gender and ethnicity. The primary focus of the course is on contemporary media; however, they will be examined within their historical context. Prerequisite(s): MS 501 or permission of the instructor.

MS 640. Interactive Media 
This course will focus on the theory and practice of designing, recording and editing still and motion images and text in interactive/nonlinear formats. Students will read and report on pertinent theory and apply it in the production of interactive media exercises, culminating in a major digital interactive media project. Theory will be put into practice utilizing digital technology and software. Prerequisite(s): MS 500 or permission of the instructor.

MS 645. Film Theory 
This course will examine various theoretical approaches to viewing, analyzing, producing and writing about film. Students will read and discuss theories about the language of film; narrative, dramatic and descriptive strategies; the representation of a reality; the medium of film - image and sound in motion; film artists; genres and conventions, especially in relation to postmodernism; the psychology of the spectator; economic and industrial factors in film production; social and ideological subtexts; and nonlinear approaches to narrative and filmmaking, such as hypertext. Readings will include a range of primary texts on film and narrative theory. In-class screenings will allow students to apply various theories to a variety of films. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Media Studies graduate program or permission of the instructor.

MS 655. Film History 
Motion picture films have a history of approximately 115 years. We may divide the films produced in this time-frame into three types: narrative, nonfiction - including documentary - and experimental. This course will provide an examination of exemplary films, directors, styles, genres, movements, studios, national cinemas, technologies as well as historical, cultural, economic and political contexts of the films studied. This course is designed to provide Media Studies graduate students with an adequate foundation in narrative, documentary and experimental film history, directors, styles, etc. This foundation will prepare them to successfully research, plan, and implement their theses/projects - the culmination of each one’s Master’s degree. Instruction and learning will be accomplished through the screening and discussion of films, and the reading and discussion of published articles and portions of books. A few selected films will be screened in class, with the majority of them screened out of class via whatever source media the students decide to access. This out-of- course access is the responsibility of the students. Prerequisite(s): MS 500, MS 501, and MS 502; or permission of the instructor and graduate program coordinator.

MS 670. Seminar in Media Studies 
Areas of study not normally covered in other courses. Topics vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

MS 695. Integrated Media Management 
This course applies management principles and practices to the effective organization of different media agencies, firms and/or systems, including broadcast stations, cable systems, public relations agencies, etc. Current research and models in telecommunications administration, economic planning and control, merchandising and positioning, sales and advertising will be reviewed, as well as case studies and current problems in research, planning, operations, administration and evaluation. Prerequisite(s): Completion of 15 credits in Media Studies M.A. Program.

MS 696. Independent Study 
Students may not take this class more than two times. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

MS 698. Media Studies Thesis I 1-3 Hours 
Prerequisite(s): Permission of graduate advisor.

MS 699. Media Studies Thesis II 1-3 Hours 
Prerequisite(s): Permission of graduate advisor. 
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowCurriculum

Curriculum - Graduate Program in Media Studies

Master of Arts in Media Studies

36 hours required for graduation

Foundation Core Requirements
Nine hours. MS 500 (Digital Storytelling), MS 503 (Mass Communication Theory), MS 502 (Graduate Research and Writing)

Advanced Core Requirements
Six hours. Choose 1 (one) three-hour course at the 600 level from each of the two program concentrations (Digital Media, Media Theory & Criticism)

Concentration
Nine hours. Students choose three courses in one approved area of concentration. Six hours can be independent studies courses.

Electives
Three hours. Any 500- or 600-level course.

Thesis/Project Requirement
Six hours. The thesis or project requirement requires students to conduct and complete independent research that is relevant to the theoretical issues and topics covered in the M.A. program and demonstrate familiarity with, and skill in, applying appropriate research methods. Alternatively, students can choose to complete a comprehensive media project, which may, for example, be relevant to their employment (e.g. as videographers, teachers, media specialists) as well as a detailed written evaluative report demonstrating its relevance to the program.

Concentration Options:

Digital Media
Choose 3 courses from MS 510, 541, 543, 548, 560, 565, 600, 610, 630, 640 or 660.

Media Theory & Criticism
Choose three courses from MS 505, 515, 561, 635, 645 or 655


Thesis/Project Requirement:  6 hours. The thesis or project requirement requires students to conduct and complete independent research that is relevant to the theoretical issues and topics covered in the M.A. program and demonstrates familiarity with, and skill in, applying appropriate research methods. Alternatively, students can choose to complete a comprehensive media project, which may, for example, be relevant to their employment (e.g. as videographers, teachers, media specialist) as well as a detailed written evaluative report demonstrating its relevance to the program. Click here for a PDF version of the Thesis/Project PROPOSAL Guidelines.  Click here for a curriculum work sheet to help you plan your classes.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowThesis Information
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowProposal Deadlines
Thesis Proposal / Defense Dates and Deadlines

 Use the weekly schedule below for the semester you are planning on proposing and/or the semester you are defending your thesis.
 
Week 1: Identify a Committee Chair (only done for proposal)
 
Week 2: Form Committee to include a chair and 2 other professors (only done for proposal)
 
Week 3: Students must submit committee form agreements to committee chair.
 
Week 4: Committee chair must have forms submitted to Media Studies Coordinator and The Department Chair.
 
Week 8:  Defense submitted to chair.
 
Week 10:  Proposal submitted to chair.
 
Week 12:  Proposal/ Defense scheduled/Thesis Paper delivered to Media Studies Graduate Coordinator (by committee chair).
 
Week 13:  Feedback, corrections and additions.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAdjuncts and Teaching Assistants

Adjunct Faculty

 
  • Joe Long
  • Sharon Banks
  • Jack Bailey
  • Aaron Bradley
  • Leah Turley
 

Teaching Assistants

  • James Taylor
  • Wendy Shamblin Taylor
  • Adam Striker

Faculty & Staff


Students making a film documentary
Kimberly
Kimberly Cobb, M.A.
Assistant Professor/Media Studies Coordinator

 
201 Wilson University Union/205 Cole Complex
Phone: (304) 766-5124
cobbkim@wvstateu.edu
Dr. Sherri L.
Dr. Sherri L. Shafer
Associate Professor/Chair
All office hours arranged by appointment. (304) 766.3382
207 Cole Complex
Phone: (304) 766-3382
sshafer1@wvstateu.edu
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